Cindy Post-Tropical; Back to Tranquil Conditions in the Atlantic Basin

Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall early Thursday morning near the Louisiana/Texas border as a minimal tropical storm with 40 mph. It has wrecked havoc from the northern Gulf coast to the Northeast U.S. with heavy rain, flooding, tornadoes and waterspouts. It merged with a frontal system Saturday morning and is no longer a tropical system. Its remnants head out to sea throughout the day.

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Cindy brought tremendous rainfall to the Southeast. In conjunction with a cold front, this moisture was carried up through the Ohio Valley and the Northeast Friday and Saturday. Here are some of the heaviest rainfall totals courtesy the Weather Prediction Center. Ocean Springs, Maryland saw nearly 19″ of rainfall. New Orleans was also hit hard with flooding and 10.49″ of rain.

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Fortunately, drier air has taken hold of much of the Atlantic Basin. No tropical cyclone development is expected for at least the next 5 days. While the coast of Africa is not a typical place for named storm develop in late June, we’ll keep our eyes peeled. Tropical Storm Bret, while short-lived, did form from a Cape Verde type wave.

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The GFS and ECMWF show no tropical development through the end of the work week. The Euro shows high pressure holds strong through next Friday morning.

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High Chance Two Named Storms Form in the Atlantic Basin Early This Week

We’re still watching and waiting to see if/when Invest 93L and Potential Tropical Cyclone Two become our next named storms. Invest 93L pulls away from the Yucatan Monday afternoon. It battles hostile upper level winds and remains a sheared disturbance. The bulk of the heaviest convection sits north and east of the broad area of low pressure. Visible satellite imagery shows low pressure tries to consolidate (albeit partially exposed) north of the Yucatan in the south central Gulf. Hurricane Hunters will investigate Invest 93L Monday afternoon. The bulk of the steady rain has stayed west of Florida. There is still a high chance this becomes either Tropical Storm Bret or Cindy in the next 48 hours.

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The westward trend in computer models continues Monday. Model consensus is improving. All signs point to a good soaking/possible flooding from southeast Texas to the Florida Panhandle. Models focus in on the Louisiana coast Wednesday and Thursday. The GFS continues to eye Louisiana for the greatest impacts. The 12Z is a little stronger and more compact. The European model is still the farthest west towards southeast Texas. The 12Z Euro brings a weak tropical storm near Houston, Texas Thursday morning. It is worth noting the Euro isn’t quite as far west as previous runs.

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Future Tropical Storm Bret or Cindy will primarily be a big rainmaker for parts of the northern Gulf coast. It’s impossible to say where and when the heaviest bands will set up. With that being said, flooding rains appear likely especially in southeast Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle. The Weather Prediction Center suggests 4-6″+ may fall in these areas by Saturday morning. Locally heavier amounts are likely, especially offshore.

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Hurricane reconnaissance aircraft investigate Potential Tropical Cyclone Two Monday afternoon. As of 2 PM, they  find winds up to tropical storm force, but no center of circulation just yet. There is a high chance it becomes Tropical Storm Bret or Cindy as early as Monday evening.

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As noted Sunday, advisories, watches and warnings will be issued before a tropical cyclone forms in 2017. This will hopefully be lifesaving and give people more time to prepare. Tropical storm conditions may reach the southern Windward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and coastal Venezuela Monday night and Tuesday morning. The future tropical storm is unlikely to survive past mid-week in the Caribbean. Wind shear is quite high, which should shred the system apart. Interaction with South America will also disrupt it.

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All Eyes Are On the Gulf and South Central Atlantic; Tropical Storm Bret & Cindy Likely to Form

It’s been a busy weekend in the Atlantic Basin. Two areas of interest organize Sunday. Invest 93L produces winds up to 40 mph Sunday afternoon, but it is still a broad area of low pressure east of the Yucatan. Convection has decreased since Sunday morning as wind shear increases near the Yucatan Channel.  Sunday’s Hurricane Hunter mission was cancelled, but it is rescheduled for Monday. Once the disturbance exits the Yucatan it will tap into the warm Gulf of Mexico waters. It could become a named storm during this time. Wind shear will be a constant battle for likely future Tropical Storm Bret or Cindy. This westerly shear will displace the deepest convection/heaviest rain east of its center. This is a pretty common structure for sheared June named storms. None of the intensity models suggest more than a weak tropical storm. There will be plenty of deep tropical moisture, so heavy rain is the primary threat.

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Until there is a center of circulation, computer models will continue struggle with its future track. All areas from coastal Texas to Florida need to stay alert through mid-week. The European model continues to track Invest 93L the furthest west near the Texas/Mexico border Thursday morning. The GFS is trending a bit further west Sunday too. As of Sunday afternoon, it is steering away from a Florida Panhandle landfall. The 18Z run brings a weak tropical storm into coastal Louisiana Thursday morning. We will see if this westward trend continues. If that is the case, less heavy rain is expected through parts of Florida.

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The Weather Prediction Center shows the potential for flooding/heavy rain for parts of the northern Gulf coast through the end of the week. It is in line with the slight westward shift in models Sunday. It paints a bullseye of 5-6″+ for portions of coastal Louisiana, southern Alabama, and southern Mississippi. These rainfall estimates are subject to change, once we get a better grasp on the future track of Invest 93L.

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A tropical cyclone is also likely to form about 800 miles south/southeast of the southern Windward Islands. Convection has consolidated and winds top out at 35 mph Sunday afternoon. To better prepare residents in the storms path, a Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This is new from the National Hurricane Center in 2017. Advisories are issued before a tropical cyclone forms this year.

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Here’s what the 5 PM potential track looks like. Tropical Storm conditions are possible by Tuesday in the Windward Islands. Squalls will also reach Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago. Interaction with land will disrupt the tiny storm. Wind shear will also increase in the days ahead. This could cause future Tropical Storm Bret or Cindy to dissipate, or at least weaken in the Caribbean by mid-week.

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Unusually Active in the Atlantic; Watching Two Disturbances

The Atlantic Basin is unusually active for mid-June. On Saturday, there are two areas of interest. Closest to home is a broad area of low pressure in the western Caribbean near Central America. Gradual organization is expected in the coming days as this feature moves northwest towards the Yucatan and into Gulf of Mexico early next week. There is quite a bit of dry air in the Gulf of Mexico. This will likely moisten up as the disturbance approaches. Wind shear will be a big factor in the future strength. High westerly wind shear will likely keep this feature weak and disorganized. Regardless of development, a slug of tropical moisture will enhance rain chances and rainfall amounts in Florida and parts of the northern Gulf coast early to mid-week.

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As is often the case with a developing disturbance, there are differences in computer models. The ECMWF suggests a weak tropical system moves further west towards Mexico . This could mean a period of heavy rain for southeast Texas through late work week. Meanwhile, the GFS takes a more northerly track towards the Panhandle of Florida Tuesday and Wednesday. It also depicts a disorganized, sheared, weak tropical system. It’s a wait a see situation the next couple of days. Regardless of the final location, heavy rain appears to be the main threat.

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An early Cape Verde type tropical wave about 1500 miles from the southern Windward Islands bears watching. There are also a few more healthy tropical waves behind it. This is more of an August setup than a mid-June pattern. As of Saturday morning, Invest 92L moves west/west-northwest at 10-15 mph.  Convection is scattered, wind shear is moderate, and most of the dry air associated with the Saharan Air Layer is north of this feature. Gradual development is expected and there is a high chance a tropical depression forms over the next 5 days. Wind shear remains high near and in the Caribbean. This could hinder any long-term development. The Euro is unimpressed. The GFS shows a small tropical storm near the southern Windward Islands by Tuesday. Many Saturday morning intensity models forecast a weak tropical storm in the next 24-36 hours. The next named storms are Bret and Cindy.

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Quiet First Week in the Atlantic Basin

Wednesday marks one week into the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. While no areas of interest are on the horizon the next 5 days, copious amounts of rain continue to fall in central and south Florida. A trough and frontal boundary toss deep tropical moisture over the state. As of Wednesday afternoon, Marco Island has seen about a foot and half or rain over the past 48 hours. More rain will continue as this boundary slides south Thursday.

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Wind shear remains moderate to high in the Gulf and Caribbean. It will stay that way through the weekend. The long-range GFS hints that low pressure may try to form near Central America in about 7-10 days, but that’s a ways off.

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It’s not uncommon for the Atlantic season to start out on a quiet note. On average, the first named storm forms on July 9th. In 2017, Tropical Storm Arlene formed in April in  rare fashion in the north Atlantic. Meanwhile, in the east Pacific, the first named storm typically forms on June 10th. They are off to a more active start. Tropical Storm Adrian formed in May and most recently, Tropical Storm Beatriz formed in early June.

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Tropical Moisture Gathers in the Gulf; Wet Tuesday and Wednesday in Florida

We’re less than a week into the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. So far, there are no areas of concern for tropical depression development. Any named storms that form from June 1-June 10 tend to form in the Gulf of Mexico, the western Caribbean, or extreme western Atlantic over the Gulf Stream. Only 21 named storms have formed during this time period since 1851. The graphic below is courtesy Google Earth.

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Weak low pressure in the western Gulf remains sheared and disorganized Monday. This feature combines with an upper low over southeast Texas Tuesday. This sets the stage for some hefty rain and storms Tuesday and Wednesday in Florida. Multiple rounds of rain are on the way. Notice several batches of deep tropical moisture in the Gulf Monday afternoon.

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Many areas will see 2-3″+ of rain through Thursday. The European model suggests the heaviest rain will fall in central and south Florida. Localized flooding is possible if training sets up. Much of Florida suffers from moderate, severe and extreme drought conditions. This rainfall will be beneficial.

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Disorganized Gulf Disturbance to Bring Steady Rain to Florida Tuesday & Wednesday

Tropical cyclone development in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico is unlikely. On Sunday, a weak area of low pressure combats drier air aloft and high westerly shear. Convection is disorganized and displaced east of a broad circulation. This weak low can be traced back to the remnants of Tropical Storm Beatriz in the east Pacific. While tropical development is not expected, tropical moisture will set the stage for a wet Tuesday and Wednesday in the Sunshine State.

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The weak area of low pressure merges with a cold front early this work week. During this time, wind shear will be way too high for tropical organization. The GFS winds shear model shows moderate to high wind shear in conjunction with these features Tuesday night.

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Multiple waves of steady rain/embedded gusty storms are possible for Florida and portions of the northern Gulf coast mid work week. While some brief localized flooding is possible, this is beneficial rain due to the ongoing drought. The Weather Prediction Center racks up 3-4″+ for much of Florida by Friday morning.

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The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins

The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season is underway. It officially began Thursday. All eyes are on the possibility of El Niño conditions developing later this season. In a strong El Niño wind shear is often higher in the Atlantic Basin. This would tend to limited the number of named storms and strong storms. If a weak El Niño develops wind shear may be low enough for it to be an above average season. NOAA says there is a 45% of an above average season. They predict 11-17 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes, and 2-4 major hurricanes. On average, 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes form each year. There is also a chance El Niño conditions don’t develop at all.

Colorado State University upped their forecast this week too. Dr. Klotzbach and his colleagues anticipate a near average season. They forecast 14 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. This includes Tropical Storm Arlene which formed (in rare fashion) in the north central Atlantic in April. The forecast thinking is in line with NOAA. The likelihood of a strong El Niño has decreased. Water temperatures are near or above average in the tropical Atlantic. It is much cooler in the extreme northern Atlantic.

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June is always a month to watch closely for tropical cyclone development. On average, a named storm forms every other June. The Gulf of Mexico and the northwest Caribbean are hot spots for development. Stalled frontal boundaries can guide storms towards Florida or the extreme western Atlantic.

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On Saturday we are monitoring some remnant moisture from former Tropical Storm Beatriz in the east Pacific. It spills into the warm Bay of Campeche. Officially, no development with this disturbance is expected over the next 5 days. Some of this tropical moisture is headed to the Sunshine State. This will enhance rain chances in central and south Florida through mid-week as this energy merges with a cold front.

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Wind shear is incredibly high in the Gulf of Mexico and the Bay of Campeche. There is one small pocket of lower shear in the extreme southern Bay of Campeche, but overall conditions do not favor tropical organization. Wind shear ramps up early to mid-week too as a cold front drops into the Southeast. The graphic below is courtesy the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The red color indicates high wind shear.

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Drought stricken Florida is gearing up for a wet couple of days as a steady stream of tropical moisture heads that way. The European model suggest parts of Tampa Bay will see 3″+ of rainfall through Thursday. The Weather Prediction Center is even more aggressive. They suggest 4-5″+ for parts of central and south Florida by Thursday morning. All of this is welcomed rain, however some minor flooding is possible in the heaviest downpours.

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2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Ends; Most Active Since 2012

It’s official. The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season wraps up Wednesday with 15 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes. It is the busiest Atlantic season since 2012. On average there are 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes, so there was an above average number of named storms and hurricanes in 2016. The slightly above average season is in line with predictions from NOAA and Colorado State University. In their late summer update NOAA upped their forecast to 12-17 named storms, 5-8 hurricanes and 2-4 major hurricanes. Colorado State anticipated 15 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. Prior to the start of the 2016 season La Niña conditions were anticipated at the peak of season late in the summer. With possible lower wind shear and warmer waters tropical cyclone development would be enhanced. This never panned out and the La Niña Watch was dropped in early September. Even without the presence of a weak La Niña a slightly above average Atlantic season occurred.33Several storms were strong and long-lived in 2016.  When we analyze the total energy output of all tropical systems during the entire hurricane season, or ACE, the number is high is 2016. According to Dr. Klotzbach at Colorado State University the ACE this year is 134. This is more than double the ACE from 2015. Two hurricanes made landfall in the U.S.. Hermine is the first hurricane to hit Florida since Wilma in 2005. Hurricane Matthew paralleled Florida and Georgia and made landfall in South Carolina as a category 1 hurricane. Matthew was a category 5 hurricane in the Caribbean. It is the first category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Basin since Felix in 2007. Tropical Storm Colin made landfall in Florida and Bonnie struck South Carolina as a tropical depression in South Carolina. Julia threw a curve ball. It formed over Florida, the first named storm to form over the Sunshine State. Hurricane Otto made landfall in Nicaragua on Thanksgiving. It is the latest hurricane to make landfall anywhere in the Atlantic Basin.2015-named-stormsThe 2016 season started well before June 1st. Hurricane Alex formed in rare fashion in January and made landfall in the Azores. It is the first January Atlantic hurricane since 1938. Hurricane Alice formed in late December 1954 and maintained hurricane strengthen in early January 1955 too. Fast forward to late May and Tropical Storm Bonnie also formed before June 1st. It formed over the warm Gulf Stream in the western Atlantic and made landfall near Charleston as a tropical depression. Bonnie drenched the Carolinas and brought rip currents to the coastline Memorial Day weekend.bonnieA third named storm formed in early June. Colin was a sheared tropical storm that made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend. Most of the rain was on the eastern side of the storm. Parts of Tampa Bay had over 15 inches of rainfall from tropical moisture associated with Colin. The storm brought rough surf and rip currents to the Mid Atlantic a few days later. In mid-June Danielle formed in the Bay of Campeche. It was a short-lived storm that made landfall in mountainous east Mexico.colinWe waited another 6 weeks for the next named storm. Earl originated as a tropical wave off the coast of Africa. It became the 2nd hurricane of 2016 in the Caribbean in early August.  It made landfall as a category 1 hurricane in Belize and made a second landfall in Mexico as a tropical storm. Landslides and heavy rain brought significant damage to the region. Cape Verde season was in full swing and in mid-August Tropical Storm Fiona formed over the open central Atlantic. It dissipated due to plenty of dry African air and wind shear a few days later.  Gaston became the first major hurricane of the season on August 28th. Fortunately it stayed over the central Atlantic and didn’t affect any land masses. Gaston was quite resilient and maintained tropical cyclone status for 12 days. Its remnants brought squalls to the Azores.fionaHurricane Hermine put an end to the hurricane landfall drought it Florida. It made landfall in the Big Bend region on September 1st as a category 1 hurricane. It is the first hurricane to hit the Sunshine State since Wilma in October 2005. Hermine is also the first hurricane to hit the U.S. since Arthur in July 2014. It brought a record 7.5 feet storm surge to Cedar Key. The Tampa Bay area had a 2-4 foot surge. Parts of north and central Florida had over a foot of rain, including 22.36″ at Lake Tarpon Canal in Pinellas counties. Heavy rain moved on to the Southeast and Mid Atlantic.hermineSeptember was an active month. Tropical Storm Ian formed over the central Atlantic in mid-September. It stayed out to sea. After Ian is Julia. Oddly enough Julia formed over northeast Florida in mid September. It is the first tropical cyclone to form over the state of Florida. Julia meandered off of South Carolina and brought rough surf and rip currents to the state. Long-lived Tropical Storm Karl neared hurricane strength northeast of Bermuda in late September. Outer rain bands brought tropical storm wind gusts to Bermuda International Airport on September 24th. Tropical Storm Lisa formed west of the Cabo Verde Islands in late September. It dissipated a few days later over the open Atlantic due to strong wind shear and dry air.

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The biggest headline of the 2016 Atlantic season was Hurricane Matthew. Matthew set all kinds of records. The 5th hurricane of 2016 reached category 5 strength on September 30th, the first since Felix in 2007. Matthew made landfall in western Haiti as a dangerous category 4 hurricane on October 4th. It is the first category 4 to hit Haiti since Cleo in 1964. It lashed the country with major hurricane force winds, flooding, storm surge and mudslides. Matthew made a second landfall in east Cuba as a category 4 shortly after. On October 5th Hurricane Matthew slammed the Bahamas. Winds gusted to 85 mph in Nassau as it rolled through. It was an extremely close call for Florida but the center of Matthew stayed just offshore. A peak gust of 107 mph was recorded at the top of tower at Cape Canaveral on October 7. The Jacksonville area saw record storm surge from Matthew. The storm surge in Fernandina Beach peaked at almost 10 feet above normal. Hurricane Matthew paralleled the Georgia coastline. A record storm surge of nearly 8 feet was recorded in Ft. Pulaski. Matthew made its first landfall in the U.S. in McClellanville, South Carolina as a category 1 hurricane on October 8th. Some of the worst coastal flooding since Hurricane Hazel in 1954 was felt in coastal South Carolina and southeast North Carolina. Inland flooding and river flooding continued for an extended period of time in South Carolina and North Carolina. Some areas saw over a foot of rainfall. Fayetteville, North Carolina received 14.82.”
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The 6th hurricane and 3rd major hurricane of 2016, Nicole, impacted Bermuda in mid-October. Nicole peaked as a category 4 hurricane with 130 mph winds. While Bermuda spared a direct hit the outer eye wall of Nicole lashed the island country with hurricane force winds on October 13th. The final named storm and hurricane is Otto. Otto made landfall on Thanksgiving in southern Nicaragua as a category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds.. It is the record latest hurricane to make landfall in the Atlantic Basin. Otto is also the strongest hurricane to make landfall so late in the season. The 15th named storm of 2016 survived the trip across Central America and kept its name in the east Pacific.
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Otto A Hurricane; To Make Landfall in Central America on Thanksgiving

In 36 hours Tropical Depression 16 becomes Hurricane Otto in the southwest Caribbean. Otto is the 7th hurricane of the 2016 Atlantic season and is set to make landfall on Thanksgiving as a hurricane near the Nicaragua/Costa Rica border. According to the National Hurricane Center Otto is the latest hurricane formation on record in the Caribbean Sea, surpassing Martha in 1969. As of 4 PM EST max sustained winds are at 75 mph and Otto meanders west at 2 mph. Pressure is down to 984 mb. Otto thrives over warm Caribbean waters. Wind shear is marginally favorable for a bit more strengthening before landfall on Thursday. Enhanced satellite imagery shows a more defined tropical cyclone Tuesday afternoon. Hurricane hunters will investigate Otto for the second time Tuesday late in the day. Hurricane force winds only extend out 10 miles from the center while tropical storm force winds extend out 70 miles. A small wobble north or south will make the difference in damaging winds in Nicaragua and/or Costa Rica. Costa Rica has never had a direct hit from a hurricane.

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Here is the late day advisory on Otto. The NHC brings Hurricane Otto near the Nicaragua/Costa Rica border Thursday afternoon (Thanksgiving). By Friday if a tropical storm still holds together Otto will keep its name in the East Pacific.

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Late November named storms are extremely rare. Only 16 named storms have formed in the Atlantic Basin from November 21st to November 30th since 1851. Notice two origin points similar to the formation location of Otto north of Panama. The graphic below is courtesy Google Earth.

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Heavy rainfall is the primary threat. Parts of Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama could see 6 to 12 inches of rainfall through Thursday. In northern Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua closer to landfall isolated amounts of 15 to 20 inches are possible. Flash flooding and mudslides is likely near higher terrain. The GFS brings Otto inland over south Nicaragua Thursday afternoon. The Euro also shows a landfall in south Nicaragua. It suggests a stronger more compact hurricane at landfall.

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